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Volunteer backyard blitz program brings joy to struggling Queenslanders


16 September 2020 at 6:06 pm
Maggie Coggan
“My garden was my sanctuary during lockdown… but there are people out there that don't have anything like that,” the leader behind the program says.


Maggie Coggan | 16 September 2020 at 6:06 pm


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Volunteer backyard blitz program brings joy to struggling Queenslanders
16 September 2020 at 6:06 pm

“My garden was my sanctuary during lockdown… but there are people out there that don’t have anything like that,” the leader behind the program says.

A Cairns suicide prevention group are harnessing the healing power of plants, gathering volunteers to give the gardens of struggling locals a makeover.

Launched by the Dr Edward Koch Foundation last week, the backyard makeover program will aim to work on at least 10 projects over the next year, ranging from lawn mowing to a full revamp. 

Dulcie Bird, the foundation’s CEO, told Pro Bono News that being surrounded by plants and a soothing garden was a great way to boost mental health, and during such trying and often isolating times, it was important everyone had access to a green space. 

“There are a lot of people feeling isolated and alone, and I know for me, my garden was my sanctuary during lockdown,” Bird said. 

“But there are people out there that don’t have anything like that, or they may not have the capacity to get up and get out there to make their garden into their sanctuary, so we’re hoping that the program will be able to help.” 

The COUCH Wellness Centre, which supports cancer patients and their families, was the first garden to receive a makeover, with volunteers from the local SES and Rotary Club transforming a once unused space into something special. 

“It was just an area that wasn’t being used and was set in amongst a swampy area. It’s now been built up into a garden with nice relaxing chairs around the place,” Bird said. 

The organisation is now urging the public to nominate the next deserving person (with their consent) to receive a garden re-do. 


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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